Synthesio’s Trend Detection & Insights Series, Part 2 (See part 1): Understanding consumer behavior has always been a challenge for brands. Today Social Media Intelligence providers need to go further than just collecting consumer conversations from social media trending topics.

How? By automatically surfacing statistically significant trends and patterns taking place online that are relevant to your brand – as such trends can lead to potential insights about customers’ habits and expectations. 

Correlations are one of the types of trends that your brand needs to be aware of.

What is a Correlation?

The official definition of a correlation is a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things.

Most of us are familiar with the idea of correlations, if not the exact definition, especially in the field of marketing and sales.

Correlations can be obvious such as ice cream sales increasing in the summertime. In other words, ice cream sales correlating positively with increasingly warm weather.

Ice cream sales and increasingly warm weather are said to correlate positively because as the warm weather increases, the ice cream sales increase too.


This example is intuitive; however, correlations between various topics can sometimes be a lot harder to identify, especially when consumer behavior is involved. That’s because correlations can arise due to various reasons such as social norms and customs, social trends, events, and a lot of other factors.

For example, as social awareness and concern for the environment grows, it’s possible that plastic water bottle sales could decrease. This would be a negative correlation because as consumer concern for the environment increases, plastic water bottle sales decrease.

Correlation analyses do not stand for causality: an increase of conversations about “plastic water bottles” can be correlated to a long-lasting spike of posts mentioning “ocean pollution” – but the real reason behind the correlation might be “recycling”, with a lower volume of conversations. 

Nevertheless, it is crucial for brands to be aware of correlations between social media trending topics, both positive and negative – as these high correlations might lead to insights about shifts in consumers’ behavior.

Spotting Correlations in Online Conversations

More likely than not, your brand is already monitoring online conversations surrounding your brand, products, competitors, and other relevant topics. But up until now, finding correlations between social media trending topics has been a difficult and largely manual process. Essentially, you’ve had no easy way of identifying if conversations about a certain topic correlate with conversations about another – expect by exporting your data to Excel or other business intelligence tools. 

In other words, do you know if the number of online mentions about your brand changes in a similar way to conversations about a certain event? A political movement? A competitor?

Today, advances in data science and artificial intelligence allow platforms that compile social conversations for your brand, to automatically identify when correlations between social media trending topics are taking place.


For example, in the correlation matrix above you can quickly identify if posts in different tea categories evolve the same way over a given period of time. 

Why Your Brand Needs to Know About Correlations

Marketing professionals always need to stay on top of social media trending topics, often globally. Being aware of which topics correlate to those relevant to their brand can help marketers understand:

If a crisis is affecting a brand’s image

If your brand, or any topic related to your brand, is evolving in conversations in a similar way to a crisis taking place in your industry, that’s something you need to know about. If an airline company’s online mentions were evolving similar to mentions surrounding Boeing’s recent malfunctions, that’s something they need to know. Once the company knows consumers are associating them with the crisis, they can be better equipped to manage the crisis.

If a competitor’s marketing strategy is similar

Do you know if your brand is being mentioned at similar times and in similar volumes to a competitor? If those conversations are evolving in similar ways, and you know about it, you can take steps to further differentiate your brand and your products along with the messaging surrounding them.

If an event is the perfect place to advertise products

On the other hand, what if online conversations about your products are evolving similarly to the conversations surrounding an event such as a conference, or organized social gathering? Knowing that can help you identify a great opportunity to promote your products through a sponsorship, partnership, or just a well-executed advertising campaign.

If a political or social justice trend could impact a brand or product perception

Political trends and activist movements take hold quickly in the age of social media. Understanding how your products and brand correlate with these movements can help you get ahead of these trends and help you develop products and marketing strategies that cater to what your consumers care about.

These are just a few examples of what correlation detection can do for your brand. In reality, the use cases are limitless.

Spotting Correlations and Other Social Media Trending Topics is Not Enough

Knowing there is a correlation between topics relevant to your brand is a great start. But it isn’t enough. Beyond alerting you about the existence of correlation, your Social Media Intelligence provider should be able to explain why, where, and how the online events took place. Just like the detection of the social media trend itself, the generation of an in-depth trend analysis for each correlation needs to be automatically at your fingertips. That way you can spend more time strategizing, and less time searching.

Are you ready to take your brand’s Social Media Intelligence to the next level with state-of-the-art correlation detection? Register for the webinar on the 23rd of July to see these capabilities in action!